Chute Technology named a Bulk Handling Awards finalist for its revolutionary new diffused buffer bin loader

Typical stockpile shape and geometry produced by the diffused buffer bin

Typical stockpile shape and geometry produced by the diffused buffer bin, which raises volumetric capacity for handling flowing bulk materials including mineral and agribusiness products

Chute Technology has been named as finalist in the 2016 Australian Bulk Handling Awards in the excellence in transport and/or conveying category for its diffused buffer bun loader, which can increase the buffering capacity between the reclaiming and shiploading functions by up to 20 per cent.

The awards, to be held at Doltone House in Sydney on November 24th, recognise the most innovative, efficient and safe technologies in the bulk handling industry. The Chute Technology innovation recognised by these awards turns old thinking on its head by eliminating the typical huge cone-shaped top loads deposited from conveyors and instead spreading the load more evenly down around the surface of the bin.

"It's a great feeling to be given this sort of recognition for the innovative technologies that we're designing to improve the efficiency of bulk handling companies in Australia and around the world," says Mr Tom Woods, one of the three Chute Technology principal partners.

"The design is already proven in a major port loading facility and is applicable to a wide range of conveyor loading systems that would benefit from a curtailing of the need for costly, energy-consuming spreading equipment and space wastage produced by conventional methods," he said.

Diffused Buffer Bin Loader

An Australian materials handling innovation that eliminates decades of inefficient ship loading and other conveyor loading practices is being introduced worldwide to increase the buffering capacity between the reclaiming and shiploading functions by up to 20 per cent.

Chute Technology's patented new profit-enhancing diffused buffer bin loader design for bulk materials conveyor chute systems uses a diffused loader to distribute incoming feed more evenly over a greater area of the surface of stockpiles in the bins, instead of concentrating it onto one large inefficient cone-shaped peak.

"The classic problem of how to fill a rectangular space with a free flowing material that naturally assumes a rounded conical shape has now been solved," says Chute Technology Director and veteran materials handling, ports and mining process engineer, Mr Dennis Pomfret. "We believe this innovation is revolutionary, with huge potential for the mining and bulk materials handling industries. We've just had it patented approved, so it's ready for Australian markets," he said.

A major benefit of the increased bin capacity is that when it is applied to ship loading systems the in-feed conveyor system from the stockpile can be operated continuously to fill the bin whilst the out-feed conveyors run for more time with coal on the belt to service the ship loader at the berth.

"Essentially, it improves the buffering time between reclaim operations and ship loading operations to allow more efficient shiploading," he said.

Tom Woods with an example of the new buffer bin

Chute Technology Director Tom Woods with an example of the new buffer bin under construction, using ruggedly reliable heavy plate pressing technology to reduce costs to customers and curtail the amount of welding and construction time required

"The loading pattern for a typical ship requires up to 20 outloading feed stops and starts as the ship loader traverses to between individual hatches. The limiting factor for loading ships, amongst other factors, is the reclaim rate from the stockpile. By eliminating the impact of intermittent stoppages of the ship loader on the reclaim system, a more continuous flow of coal is achieved.

The improved process - one of a series from Chute Technology that eliminate potential bottlenecks in materials handling processes - also avoids mechanical wear and tear, says Mr Woods, whose company T.W. Woods Construction cost-efficiently fabricates the new diffused buffer bin loader.

Extensive use is made by T.W. Woods Construction of heavy pressed plate in the new design, forming a monocoque product that eliminates a lot of welding and curtails the costs and delays entailed in piecemeal construction.

The new system's four distributed diffusers and spreader deflectors efficiently distribute flowing loads of thousands of tons an hour more evenly over the stockpile being built up, achieving complete filling of bins and doing the job quicker and more cost-efficiently than conventional outlet designs that produce single conical stockpiles.

The technology - and the patented process of which it is part - ensures a more even rise of material being loaded that optimises bin capacity and improves the out loading efficiency of the system. The application of the technology is being investigated for difficult-to-reach areas of ships' holds, under decks and farthest from loading hatches. This may result in cutting port time and energy demands and increasing cost-efficiency in competitive markets.

Applications include new and retrofitted systems for mines, mineral process plants, energy plants, railway loading facilities, agribusiness silo and materials handling facilities and factory processing and conveying plants, says Mr Woods.


Chute Technology Partner Skills

Dennis Pomfret Engineering

Design, specification and commissioning of material handling equipment, transfer chutes, conveyors and hoppers for hard rock, coal and other minerals in surface and underground operations at mines and ports.
Strong technical background honed by experience in managing engineering projects, mining maintenance departments, equipment manufacturing and product development roles.

Specific experience in transfer chutes is more than 20 years, materials handling 30 years.

The driving philosophy is to combine field observations and theory to evolve new concepts.

Designs are supported by the application of DEM (Discrete Element Method) modelling for transfer design and FEA structural analysis for chute platework.

Telford Engineering Solutions

A recognised multi-disciplined design and management organisation which has associated site services for project management and construction supervision.

Telford Engineering Solutions' proven experience in materials handling projects across a number of industrial and resource sectors, including coal and iron ore, provides innovative solutions and best practice techniques to consistently deliver detailed design and workshop drawings to simplify the manufacturing phase of a project.

The field services provide exposure for the team to the operating constraints and conditions at mine sites. This feedback provides enhanced practical design solutions.

The design office is fully equipped with the latest technology in three dimensional (3D) modelling environments. Telford Engineering Solutions uses internal design and management protocols to ensure that the engineering geometry and features developed in the chute design phase are accurately translated to the manufactured product.

Telford Engineering Solutions provides effective materials handling project solutions and has a proven record in delivering 3D designs and drawing packages to a diverse range of engineering specifications with high levels of accuracy and clarity.

TW Woods Construction

TW Woods Construction has a renowned reputation for structural steel and materials handling equipment for all sectors of heavy industry and mining.

The facility is geared towards the fabrication of structures using curved plates, so much so that they have developed their own patented curved plate rolling technology which has underpinned their success in proving transfer chutes for more than 50 years.

Train loading equipment which involves heavy platework, hydraulics and electrical control shows the range of skills that can be provided.

TW Woods delivers transfer chutes fit for purpose and the versatility of the fabrication skills allows the designer scope to create the most appropriate chute geometry for the application without undue constraints imposed by manufacturing techniques.

The reason why Chute Technology can deliver superior transfer chutes is that the three major contributors, engineering, design and fabrication are very competent in their own fields; they have first hand site experience and first class facilities.

The company's services include specialised shaping, fabrication and welding technology for metals including carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminium. These services are used by organisations such as Delta Energy, Incitec Pivot, water and waste water authorities, Integra Coal, Laing O'Rourke, Glencore and surface and underground mining companies throughout Australia including iron ore producers in the Pilbara and coal companies in Queensland.

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